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Qatar Airways submits a “white paper” to the U.S. Government in support of “Open Skies”

Qatar Airways (Doha) today issued this statement concerning its on-going battle with the U.S. “Big Three” concerning alleged government subsidies and Open Skies:

Qatar Airways logo

Qatar Airways has yesterday submitted a ‘White Paper’ to the United States Government which fully refutes the subsidy allegations levelled against it by the Big 3 US carriers.

The detailed submission comprehensively addresses and answers all issues raised in the ‘Open Skies’ debate, which has put into question the longstanding US policy of allowing carriers to fly to and from the United States with minimal government interference.

The Big 3 – American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines (and their unions) have been pressing the US Government to depart from its pro-Open Skies stance and impose unilateral limits on the services operated by Gulf airlines, even though the U.S. Open Skies policy was specifically designed by the US Government to ensure that US carriers were free to operate their extensive networks without foreign government restrictions on the level and routings of the services they offer.

The biggest US carriers have made ample use of their behind-country (Sixth Freedom) traffic rights, and have fought hard to preserve their own access to those rights, and to carry Fifth Freedom (third country) traffic as well. Given that these policies were created by and for US carriers, it is ironic that they are now describing the use of these traffic rights to be “unfair” when exercised by Gulf carriers.

In its report, Qatar Airways demonstrates that the many of the market changes complained of by the Big 3 are not the product of “unfair competition” (or anything remotely related to subsidy), but are instead the byproduct of important advances in aircraft technology and significant demographic changes. With ultra-long range Boeing 777 and Boeing 787 aircraft, passengers bound for the Middle East and India can now over-fly congested European hubs, and enjoy convenient one-stop services to their destinations, instead of making longer two-and three stop journeys. These technological changes have shortened travel times, and have brought families and businesses closer together.

Qatar Airways also demonstrated that although US carrier market share to the Indian subcontinent may have shifted over time, the market as a whole has grown, and US carriers are carrying more traffic in absolute terms.

Qatar Airways also disproved the claim that its services harm any US carrier, noting that it does not compete against any US carrier on any nonstop route, and serves cities that have never been served by US carriers, such as Cochin, Karachi and Amritsar. In fact, the services operated by Qatar Airways benefit US carriers. Qatar Airways works cooperatively with and feeds traffic to US carriers, including American Airlines (its code-sharing and oneworld alliance partner) and JetBlue Airways. The report also proves that the airline’s operations to the US market have significantly contributed to the economy in terms of jobs, cargo and overall passenger traffic (tourism and business travel growth), as well as providing benefits for non-aligned US passenger carriers, cargo carriers and airports.

In addition to benefiting American travellers, Qatar Airways has strongly supported the US aerospace industry. As of today, the airline has 162 aircraft flying to 150 destinations, of which over 40 per cent are Boeing jets worth over $19 billion USD.
Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, Mr. Akbar Al Baker, commented: “Qatar Airways was a relatively unknown airline when it first launched a service to the United States in 2007.

“Since then, we have built up a significant brand presence on the routes that we operate to the United States. Our passengers have come to know us, not through size alone, but by the signature service and quality of the product on board – and also the breadth of our network.

“There has been significant demand for our services from the U.S. not just to the Middle East – but beyond – where no other carriers fly. This makes us a natural choice for consumers, and is a reflection of how globalised our world has become. People are travelling further than ever before and it is important that in an economy focused on open market principles, our wings remain open for business, rather than closed.”
Qatar Airways also demonstrated that its services are lawful and consistent with the US-Qatar Agreement, which in Article 11.2 says that “neither Party shall unilaterally limit the volume of traffic, frequency or regularity of service, or the aircraft type or types operated by the designated airlines of the other Party.” Despite this clear language, the Big 3 are urging the US Government to ignore its obligations by imposing a unilateral limit on Qatar Airways’ capacity.

Other US airlines have noted that foreign governments often try to block competition from strong US airlines by challenging “excess” capacity offered by US carriers, and cautioned the US Government against deviating from a free trade policy that has worked to the overwhelming benefit of US airlines.

As Qatar Airways GCEO Mr. Akbar Al Baker observed: “The US Government should reject calls to “freeze” the US-Qatar Open Skies Agreement, and recognize these allegations for what they are – a transparent attempt by the Big 3 to block air services that compete with their own.”

Qatar Airways also examined and rebutted each of the subsidy allegations made, noting that US carriers benefit from many of the same policies they have attacked. Indeed, the claims of subsidy advanced by the Big 3 include items of support that US carriers have themselves received for decades, and items that have never been viewed as a form of subsidy. In fact, many other airlines (including US airlines) have acknowledged publicly that they and the Big 3 have themselves been long-time beneficiaries of subsidies and favorable US policies and support.

While Qatar Airways is used to strong competition, it expressed concern about the efforts of the Big 3 to persuade the US Government to refer to rules that do not apply to aviation to resolve their complaints. The application of WTO trade principles, and US domestic trade laws to these complaints – rules that apply solely to trade in goods – would be completely unlawful.

Qatar Airways GCEO Mr. Akbar Al Baker added:

“It is puzzling to see the biggest US carriers describe Qatar Airways as a “threat,” given our small size and lack of direct competition with them. Their long-standing focus on other markets, and large (and growing) profits completely undercut this claim. The Open Skies model was developed by the American carriers and has demonstrated how an Open Skies paves the way for an open economy. We are concerned to see the Big 3 seek to change the rules of the game as soon as they see US consumers respond well to the services offered by a competitor. Qatar Airways is proud of its signature five-star service, brand identity, and the high standards we deliver to our passengers onboard.”

Photo: Qatar Airways.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

AG Visit the new-look AG

 

 

Qatar Airways to take the Miami route to daily as it celebrates the first anniversary

Qatar Airways (Doha) today celebrates the first anniversary of the Doha – Miami route. The new route has been a success for the carrier. The airline will take the route to daily service on November 18. The company issued this statement:

Qatar Airways logo

Today, Qatar Airways, a proud member of the oneworld alliance, celebrates one year of nonstop service between Miami International Airport and Hamad International Airport in Doha. Due to a successful first year and an increase in passenger demand, Qatar Airways will increase from five flights per week to daily flights along this route, beginning November 18, 2015.

Qatar Airways is the only carrier to offer a nonstop flight between Miami and the Middle East, connecting South Florida to over 140 destinations around the world via its state-of-the-art hub in Doha.

“Miami and Doha share a vibrant love of art, fashion and music,” said Vice President of the Americas, Gunter Saurwein. “With a kinship for travel, both cities have so much to contribute to one another. The immense demand along this route has exceeded our expectations and we are very pleased to offer daily flights this fall.”

Both Doha and Miami are essential components of the worldwide aviation network. Through Doha’s centralized location and modern services at Hamad International Airport, travelers from Miami can reach cities such as Bangkok, Colombo, Jakarta, and Mumbai in an impressive 20 hours or less through a quick transfer in Doha. Similarly, travelers can connect seamlessly to key destinations in both North and South America from Miami.

Qatar Airways’ Miami to Doha route is operated with a Boeing 777-300 ER in a two-class configuration of 42 seats in Business Class and 293 seats in Economy Class.

While increasing flights in Miami, Qatar Airways also recently announced plans to launch service to new destinations across the United States. The airline plans to commence daily, nonstop flights between Doha and Los Angeles on January 1, Boston on March 16 and Atlanta on July 1 in 2016.

Qatar Airways has seen rapid growth in just 18 years of operation, to the point where today it is flying a modern fleet of over 150 aircraft to 146 key business and leisure destinations across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia Pacific, North America and South America.

Copyright Photo: SPA/AirlinersGallery.com. Boeing 777-3DZ ER A7-BAC (msn 3610) climbs away from Heathrow Airport in London.

Qatar Airways aircraft slide show: AG Airline Slide Show

Qatar Airways to order more airplanes

 

Please click on photo for full view and caption.

Please click on photo for full view and caption.

Qatar Airways (Doha) is expected to place another aircraft order in June at the Paris Air Show according to a report in The National newspaper of Abu Dhabi. The fast-growing flag carrier also expects to average around seven new destinations a year over the next five years. Qatar has just signed a new code-sharing agreement with US Airways. A new international airport is being built in Doha, due to open in 2011.